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Craig Rosebraugh on the Anti-War struggle (Please read) (english)
01 Apr 2003
Modified: 07:19:27 PM
An excellent analysis of why the peace movements fail to stop war and a call for radical direct action.
Craig Rosebraugh on the Anti-War struggle

As the Commander in Chief of the United States gears up at 8:00 pm (EST) to tell the nation and the world that war is inevitable, that the window of opportunity for Saddam to disarm and destroy his “weapons of mass destruction” has expired, serious questions need to be posed to the privileged anti-war movement in the United States. With massive U.S. led bombing of Iraq perhaps just hours away, the question remains, how far is the anti-war movement in the United States willing to go to stop the U.S. government and its unceasing atrocities? So far the peace or anti-war movement in this country has mirrored the same strategies and tactics of past historical anti-war causes. By far the most important example to reference is that of the Vietnam anti-war movement in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Well over a million people participated in this effort, engaging in a variety of tactics and strategies in an attempt to stop the war, or even to prevent its further escalation. From public education to picketing, boycotts to lobbying, marches to massive civil disobedience, to even outright suicide in the numerous cases of individuals lighting themselves on fire in protest, the Movement was extremely diverse. There was even a decent contingency of property destruction that occurred, no doubt condemned by the mainstream corporate peace organizations. With all this activity, with the incredible amount of participation, one would assume this would have been more than enough to stop the war, to pressure the federal government to pull out of Southeast Asia. Furthermore, when soldiers such as Ron Kovic, returned from the war angry and disillusioned and formed organizations such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, even more intense pressure was placed on the U.S. government. But it was not enough. None of the strategies and tactics applied during the Vietnam anti-war movement in the United States were enough, either individually or combined, to stop the U.S. government’s military horrors. At the height of the Movement, Nixon’s response was not to stop the war but to initiate his policy of Vietnamization. This ingenious plan allowed the U.S. government to weaken the anti-war movement while continuing on with the war for another five years. When the peace accords were finally signed in Paris in 1973, they were more a result of the incredible success of the Viet Cong than any realistic effectiveness of the anti-war cause. Each of the anti-war movements that have surfaced in the United States since then have attempted to mirror, to an absolutist extent, the strategies and tactics that failed during the Vietnam anti-war struggle. In fact these same strategies and tactics have been used in nearly all U.S. anti-war movements throughout history and the fact remains, never in U.S. history has any anti-war or peace movement actually prevented or ceased a U.S. military operation or war. And yet continuously, anti-war movements in the United States fall into the same mold of ineffective activism that stands absolutely no chance of threatening or challenging the power structure of the U.S. government. In the current day, protests in select locations such as Washington, DC, New York, San Francisco, Los Angles, Portland, and more are considered successful due only to the numbers of people in attendance. The common argument is stated in defense of these activities that the message is getting out into the media and thus people in this country and around the world are learning that not everyone supports Bush’s war. Yet, from a strategical standpoint there is absolutely no realistic foundation to the belief that this form of public education can and will have any effect on the government’s decision to use military force in Iraq. Again, glancing back to the Vietnam period when the protests were even larger, when more people gathered and the tactics were even broader than those utilized today, Nixon refused to listen to the public and continued on with the war. During the past few weeks cries have emerged from the “progressive” sectors of U.S. society concerning Bush’s statement that the anti-war movement is a mere focus group and would not effect his ultimate decision. This should provide at least some indication that the large parties – which some might call protests or rallies – are not capable of generating the needed pressure which could actually force the government to stop. If it hasn’t ever occurred throughout U.S. history and, arguably, the U.S. government is more powerful now than ever, there is no precedent on which to base this faulty behavior and activity. Yet, the large mainstream peace groups continue to give caring U.S. people false hope, that if they get involved in the movement there is actually a chance they can help stop the war. If we are going to become serious about stopping this war, and even the U.S. led atrocities of tomorrow, we must be realistic about our strategies and tactics and actually begin to utilize those methodologies which can and will challenge the power structure of the country. Yes, I am speaking of direct action, but not the generalized version spouted freely today and used to describe primarily conscience serving endeavors. An action is direct if it actually gets in the way, prevents, or stops an injustice from occurring. Unfortunately, the government sanctioned peace parades do not fit into this description. Even though public education is an inherent necessity of any movement, the time for public education by relying upon corporate media’s interpretation of your events has long since passed – if it was ever valuable. The only possibility of stopping this current military action is to engage in strategies and tactics which severely disrupt the war machine, the U.S. economy, and the overall functioning of U.S. society particularly how it relates to consumerism and the economy. Marches, picketing, rallies, parties, benefits, civil disobedience and even property destruction are pointless, and perhaps even counterproductive, unless they serve to severely disrupt the functioning of the political system and its economy. An atmosphere of severe unrest, if manufactured properly, will force the U.S. government to place military resources in the streets of the United States, will threaten the economy (the chief motive behind this military excursion) of the United States, and ultimately create a political atmosphere unfavorable for Bush to continue on with the war. So how is an atmosphere of severe unrest and disruption generated? First and foremost, it must begin with our ability to look beyond the business as usual strategies and tactics that have failed miserably in the past. It must begin with our allegiance to come to terms with the realization that any and all tactics and strategies must be considered at least available for use. Next we must be willing to decipher exactly how the power of the political structure can be effectively challenged. Once this matter has been examined there is only one question remaining, will each of us become involved and use whatever tactics and strategies are necessary, or will we refuse and continue to engage solely in conduct which serves little other purpose than making people feel better about themselves. Here are some suggestions for the necessary creation of an atmosphere of unrest and disruption in the United States. 1) Attack the financial centers of the country. Using covert or black block techniques, depending on the situation, physically shut down financial centers which regulate and assist the functioning of U.S. economy. This can be done in a variety of ways from massive property destruction, to online sabotage, to physical occupation of buildings. However the latter I would shy away from, especially the open civil disobedience type of activities which purposely involve arrests. This movement needs all the assistance it can get and absolutely NO good will come from going to jail. Allowing yourself to be purposely arrested demonstrates that an individual has at least some faith in the U.S. legal system. This is completely foolish. One primary objective is to engage in serious unrest and disruption and NOT to get caught. Not getting caught means you are able to continue the struggle the next day. 2) Large scale urban rioting. With massive unrest and even state of emergencies declared in major cities across the country, the U.S. government will be forced to send U.S. troops into the domestic arena thereby taking resources and political focus away from the war. Unstable conditions in much of the country also serve as a political embarrassment for the Administration and could assist in forcing them to stop the war to deal with domestic concerns. Rioting should be focused on governmental agencies and corporations – especially those that are profiting from the war or destruction of life. 3) Attack the media centers of the country. It is the corporate media who has and continues to influence and control the minds of the mass body of people in the United States. These new media outlets cannot be utilized by the movement as they are owned by the very corporations one should be opposing. Using any means necessary, shut down the national networks of NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, etc. Not just occupations but actually engage in strategies and tactics which knock the networks off the air. 4) Spread the battle to the individuals responsible for the war and destruction of life – the very heads of government and U.S. corporations. No longer should these people be able to hide behind their occupations, living their lives in peace while they simultaneously slaughter countless people. Hit them in their personal lives, visit their homes, and make them feel personally responsible for committing massive atrocities. 5) Make it known publicly that this movement DOES NOT support U.S. troops as long as they are serving an unjust and horrifying political regime. Create an atmosphere lacking of support to assist U.S. troops at home and abroad in losing their morale and will to fight. If you are supporting the troops you are supporting this war and the very U.S. government that is the primary terrorist regime in the international arena. 6) Actively target U.S. military establishments within the United States. Again, following the above stated goal of NOT getting caught, use any means necessary to slow down the functioning of the murdering body. 7) When engaging in the above six activities, strike hard and fast and retreat in anonymity. Select another location, strike again hard and fast and quickly retreat in anonymity. Engage only in actions where you will be victorious. Do not be concerned with alienating the mainstream sectors of the movement – that mainstream has NEVER stopped a U.S. military activity or war. Do not get caught. DO NOT GET CAUGHT. Do not get sent to jail. Stay alert, keep active, and keep fighting. Remember, an action is only good (especially at this juncture in U.S. society) if it will serve to severely disrupt the political system of the country, its economy, and the corporate interests that drive this society. These suggestions are not radical. They are merely recommendations for those that desire to actually have a chance at stopping this current military siege. As the peace or anti-war corporate organizations vocally oppose this message and its enclosed suggestions, continue to ask what realistic chance do their strategies and tactics have to actually stop this war? What historical precedent do their business as usual politics and policies have? As no peace or anti-war movement has ever stopped U.S. governmental military policies or activities using the state sanctioned and societal approved methods, what right do they have to give the caring public false hope? Well over 500,000 Iraqi children have died since the Gulf War as a result of U.S. bombing and sanctions – not to mention thousands of innocent men and women. With the planned massive bombing campaign planned by the U.S. military, the death toll of the innocent will severely increase. And for what? The U.S. rhetorical line of “liberating the Iraqi people from dictator Saddam” is as much bullshit as our historical line of helping to spread freedom and democracy around the world. Surely Saddam is guilty of massive atrocities, but so are many other world leaders. Sure Saddam may have had or continue to have weapons of mass destruction, but so do many evil leaders of nations around the world. Just why is it we have not targeted Israel and Sharon in the same manner as Saddam? Why is it leaders of the United States have not targeted the U.S. government for its weapons of mass destruction and incredible history of terrorist and murderous atrocities? Similar to Bush Senior’s Gulf War, this is another war for U.S. corporations and for the protection and, more importantly, expansion of the U.S. economy. With the incredible oil reserves in the region and the potential for U.S. corporations to have a hand in building and ruling a future Iraq nation, the motives are quite obvious. Of course, it wouldn’t be just if the U.S. did not claim that it was taking action against a horrible dictator for humanitarian purposes. As the U.S. led military campaign gets fully under way in the very near future, the question remains… how far is the anti-war movement in the United States willing to go to stop the U.S. government and its unceasing atrocities? How far are you willing to go, what are you willing to do to stop the massive bloodshed once again caused by the U.S. government?
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More (english)
01 Apr 2003
The Globalization Wars
by Troy Skeels

The Iraq invasion is, of course, not about oil. What it is really about appears to be a disturbing (and disturbed) confluence of outdated plans for world domination, macho posturing, arrogance and the stunning ignorance of the man who claims to be the President of the United States. It is also an open admission that the much touted free market and American style capitalism is failing and can only be saved through massive military intervention.

Not only should we take over Iraq, say financial analysts like CNBC's Lawrence Kudlow, but we ought to overthrow leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez simply for the sake of US oil prices. Kudlow says of he wants to "go in there and take him out"--him being Chavez, to keep down the price of heating oil.

And Kudlow doesn't even feel the need for the fig leaf of "weapons of mass destruction." Boosting America's economy is apparently enough justification for any war crime.

Like the dot-com bubble, the current world domination bubble will also turn out to be an expensive con game. It's not an accident that when the TV networks bring men like Richard Perle on to talk up the stock of the Iraq invasion they are committing the same conflicts of interest that were so embarrassing following the e-commerce crash. Not only one of TV's favorite analysts of the Iraq conquest, Perle is one of its chief architects. Tell us again Richard, why your plan is so brilliant.

Even though it's not about oil, it is of course about oil, at least a little. Even if the "Iraqi people" do keep control of their oil, that wealth will be spent, for the foreseeable future, largely in the USA.

It's about oil to fuel the US war machine. It's about the oil spigots and who controls them, and who will control them as the oil supply begins to dry up. It's about oil as the political bargaining chip of last resort, and in America's hands, oil as the key to American economic and cultural dominance of the planet's people. It's about oil and it's about the forcible colonization of everybody everywhere by Walmart and Time-Warner.

On some level, this war was planned 30 years ago as OPEC flexed its petro muscles, causing Henry Kissinger to decide that the US must dominate the Persian Gulf or risk losing its comfortable superpower status. As the US has grown increasingly dependent upon imported oil, this concept has been deeply assimilated into America's political and military assumptions. Global domination is now a bipartisan issue--the Democrats just prefer to do it in a lower tone of voice. The Democratic leadership haven't complained loudly about the war because they accept its fundamental rationale - that the US needs to control the Persian Gulf, and maintain global dominance, at whatever cost.

The Bush gang have taken the extra step of insulting the UN to demonstrate that the US, as global cop, can do what it wants, when it wants. The invasion of Iraq was intended as the moment "when Washington takes real ownership of strategic security in the age of globalization," writes Thomas Barnett in the March 2003 issue of Esquire. Barnett is a professor of warfare analysis at the US Naval War College and a special advisor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. In a briefing he says he has given dozens of times in the Pentagon since September 11, 2001 he divides the world into the "Core," the wired, capitalized, developed world, and the "Gap," the marginalized, impoverished nations of the Third World.

He writes that invading Iraq is "not only necessary" but it is "good" because "the resulting long-term military commitment will finally force America to deal with the entire Gap as a strategic threat environment."

Barnett advocates a "globalization" that entails the Americanization of the world through mechanisms like the WTO, IMF and McDonald's, all backed up by US military power. What the Free Market promised and failed to do - remake the world as franchises of America, is now to be done with Cruise Missiles steered by Global Positioning Satellites.

A nation's status as a member of the "core," entails acquiescing to this Americanized globalization, however gradually. States that do, like China, will be rewarded despite their brutal subjugation of neighboring nations like Tibet and East Turkestan and the routine violation of their own citizens' human rights. Neither democracy nor human rights are a necessary component of a "core" state according to Barnett. It is only necessary that such states hook in to the globalized economy. "A country's potential to warrant a US military response is inversely related to its globalization connectivity," he writes.

His very definition of a state properly "functioning within globalization" is "any place that has not attracted US military intervention in the last decade or so." But he says, "it is always possible to fall off this bandwagon called globalization. And when you do, bloodshed will follow. If you are lucky, so will American troops."

Like the similar neoconservative visions put out by the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute, Barnett's assumptions of America's rightful dominance don't sound terribly unusual to those of us who grew up on glowing tales of Manifest Destiny. Conquering for freedom is what we do, what we have always done, and apparently, what we will always do. In fact, according to the most hawkish neocons, America must keep conquering merely to stay afloat--it can no longer afford a rival, and even disagreement has become threatening.

And that's where the think tanks' plans for world domination start to unravel. In many ways, it is already too late to save "old America." The neocon stale plans for the new world order all start from the premise that the USA must use its economic and military dominance to sweep up all the chips while it still has the chance.

Since the plans were written, America's claims to economic virility have proven to be largely mythical. The euro is growing into a formidable rival to the dollar. The Bush gang's humiliating failure to get a UN rubber stamp for its Iraq conquest has cast doubt on some basic assumptions of American dominance. Even Turkey, it turns out has considerations apart from America's displeasure--Russia is a more important trading partner. Even Mexico, of all places, has other options these days.

And despite 9-11 America is neither socially, nor culturally prepared to spend ten or twenty more years conquering the world. And since N30 1999 a whole different vision of America's place in the world has taken hold.

That's a battlefront that the neocon vision hadn't counted on--the growing resistance at home to economic and military brutality. Even less did they count on ordinary American's growing ties to the outside world.

Apart from what happens in Iraq, resisting the spread of corporate globalization, and implementing and strengthening local cultures, fair trade and alternative economics are the larger fronts in the war. The planet wide movement of civil society is mobilizing itself against war and terror, just as it is against corporate globalization. We can expect that much of the world will be organizing against all things American, including the dollar. While we American's are probably in for rough times, we may not be doomed. And when all the bad ideas have been used up, there might be room for some of the good ones.
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You don't need a weatherman ...
11 Sep 2004
"If the weathermen hadn't existed, far from being a boon for capital and the government, capital and the government would have had to invent them."
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